Why I love Esther Williams*:
• She was a native Los Angeleno, hailing from Inglewood specifically.
• She took on the “male-only” swims, including the breast stroke, and not only won, but set records. She joined the Los Angeles Athletic Club’s medley team and won three national titles by age 16.
• She wanted to be attend USC [a D in her senior year of Algebra prevented her from going] and pursue a degree in physical education.
• She would’ve competed in the 1940 Olympics had WWII not broken out.
• She revolutionized swimwear both in styling and fabrication advancements. After nearly being drowned while wearing, get this, a flannel swimsuit on set, she signed a contract with Cole of California to represent their latex suits. The US Navy even took notice and immediately ordered 50,000 units of the “Esther Williams” style suits.
The lovely Esther Williams sadly passed the other day, but she leaves quite a legacy spanning from sport, film, and fashion. Williams is easily one of my favorite Old Hollywood personalities and it’s not hard to see why. She’ll be missed!